The presence of mold, water damage, or musty odors should be addressed immediately. A visual inspection is the most important initial step in identifying a possible contamination problem. The extent of any water damage and mold growth should be visually assessed. This assessment is important in determining remedial strategies. Ventilation systems should also be visually checked when appropriate, particularly for damp filters but also for damp conditions elsewhere in the system and overall cleanliness. Ceiling tiles, gypsum wallboard (sheetrock), cardboard, paper, and other cellulosic surfaces should be given careful attention during the visual inspection. The use of equipment such as a boroscope, to view spaces in ductwork or behind walls, a moisture meter, to detect moisture in building materials, or a digital camera may be helpful in identifying and recording sources of fungal growth and the extent of water damage.
Bulk or surface sampling is not required to undertake a remediation. Remediation (as described in the Remediation section) of visually identified fungal contamination should proceed without further evaluation. Air sampling for molds should not be a part of a routine assessment as well. This is because decisions about appropriate remediation strategies can usually be made on the basis of a visual inspection. Regardless what type of mold is present you should arrange for its removal. Regulations for determining what a permissible limit of mold in the air is have not been established. Air sampling methods for some fungi are prone to false negative results and therefore cannot be used to definitively rule out contamination. Under certain circumstances sampling may need to be collected. The City Of Los Angeles Personnel Departments Occupational Health and Safety Division may take samples for the following reasons:
- If an individual(s) has been diagnosed with a disease that is or may be associated with a fungal exposure (e.g. pulmonary hemmorrhage/hemosiderosis, and aspergillosis).
- Air sampling may be necessary if there is evidence from a visual inspection or bulk sampling that ventilation systems may be contaminated. The purpose of such sampling is to assess the extent of contamination throughout a building.
- Air monitoring may be necessary if the presence of mold is suspected (e.g. musty odors) but cannot be identified by a visual inspection or bulk sampling (e.g. mold growth behind walls). The purpose of such air monitoring is to determine the location and/or extent of contamination.
- To identify the presence or absence of mold by surface sampling if a visual inspection is equivocal (e.g., discoloration, and staining).
- As determined by the Industrial Hygienist for the City Of Los Angeles. It will be the responsibility of the City Industrial Hygienist, City Safety Engineer or the designated Safety Representative for the affected Department to conduct the inspection,assessment, and sampling and make the recommendations for remediation to the designated maintenance department or their abatement contractor when necessary.